It’s Time for State Associations to Be Team Players With NBFAA

The National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) decided in September to no longer accept the applications of state Affiliated Alarm Associations (AAA) and will end current agreements with AAA states by Dec. 31, 2004. The change has been criticized by some, praised by others. To present both sides are guest commentaries by two leaders of state alarm associations – one who supports the move and another who does not.

There has been a great deal of discussion regarding the recent decision by the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) Board of Directors to phase out their Affiliated Alarm Association (AAA) program in favor of their long-standing and successful Chartered State Association (CSA) program. This action – taken at the NBFAA Fall Conference in Washington, D.C. – was the result of careful consideration of the relationship between the national and state associations.

In studying the two programs, it was determined that the AAA program was designed with the intent of providing non-affiliated state alarm associations with a transition vehicle to begin initial affiliation with NBFAA. The AAA program allowed those states to provide their members with the option of dual membership in both associations, with the ultimate goal of becoming a CSA with its members enjoying complete dual membership.

At face value, the AAA program |appears to be the ideal method for transitioning state alarm associations into the national fold. However, in recent years, the AAA program has degraded to a vehicle for division.
Professional Sports Provide Example for Security Associations

As an ardent sports fan, I am continually amazed at the parallels between the business world and the world of sports. More than 30 years ago, the National Football League decided to organize its teams in a method that allowed the equal sharing of resources and the potential for growth.  What came of that decision were years of unprecedented growth and the emergence of the NFL as the predominant American sport.

In the same 30-plus years, Major League Baseball has continued to operate as individual parties, with each team seeking out its own “best deal.” In the long run, this has hurt the “national pastime” to the point of proposed team elimination.

I view the recent decision by the NBFAA Board of Directors in similar fashion to the choices made, or not made, by the NFL and MLB. The easy decision would have been to allow a disparity of membership from one state to another, with some states taking full responsibility for their share of the national programs while others merely took advantage of the programs’ inequities.

Team Effort Needed to Bring Security Professionals Together

I believe that NBFAA’s decision will strengthen all of the local and state associations who are active and supportive participants in the national confederation. Ultimately, the move will be viewed as the first step toward long overdue success.

The NBFAA has been initiating several positive changes during the past year, which have provided increased membership value in the association. This is the time to stand behind NBFAA 100 percent and reap the benefits of its success.

I recall from my youth a Little League coach lamenting the fact that there is no “I” in team. We should all applaud the NBFAA’s efforts for taking a stand for our team, making it stronger and more equitable for everyone.

Dale Eller is the executive director of the Pennsylvania Burglar Fire Alarm Association (PBFAA) and the New York Bruglar and Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA).

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